Blood pressure monitor

Cardiovascular problems could be detected wearing ultrasound patch

Image credit: Pixabay

Researchers at the University of California (UC) San Diego have developed a wearable ultrasound patch that non-invasively monitors blood pressure in arteries deep beneath the skin and could help detect cardiovascular problems earlier on.

Applications include real-time, continuous monitoring of blood pressure changes in patients with heart or lung disease, as well as patients who are critically ill or undergoing surgery.

With the use of ultrasound, the patch could potentially be used to track other vital signs and physiological signals from places deep inside the body.

Professor of nanoengineering at the UC San Diego Jacobs school of Engineering, Sheng Xu is a corresponding author of the study.

He said: “Wearable devices have so far been limited to sensing signals either on the surface of the skin or right beneath it. But this is like seeing just the tip of the iceberg,

“By integrating ultrasound technology into wearables, we can start to capture a whole lot of other signals, biological events and activities going on way below the surface in a non-invasive manner.”

Affiliated with the Centre for Wearable Sensors at UC San Diego, Xu added: “We are adding a third dimension to the sensing range of wearable electronics.”

The new ultrasound patch can continuously monitor central blood pressure in major arteries as deep as four centimetres below the skin.

Physicians involved with the study say the technology would be useful in various in-patient procedures.

Dr Brian Huang, a radiologist at UC San Diego Health expressed: “This has the potential to be a great addition to cardiovascular medicine,

“In the operating room, especially in complex cardiopulmonary procedures, accurate real-time assessment of central blood pressure is needed - this is where this device has the potential to supplant traditional methods.”

Researchers note that the patch still has a long way to go before it reaches the clinic, with improvements including an integrated power source, data processing units and wireless communication capability into the patch.

This July, scientists developed a form of solar-powered supercapacitor, a wearable system for health monitoring.

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